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Lakota Star Knowledge

Lakota Star Knowledge

"Research into Lakota Stellar Theology has added new dimensions to our understanding of how the People generated the mentality for experiencing the sacred. It shows that they felt a vivid relationship between the macrocosm, the star world,and their microcosmic world on the plains. There is a constant mirroring of what is above by what is below. Indeed, the very shape of the earth was perceived as resembling the constellations... The stellar knowledge in the chapters which follow provides a new and larger context for understanding the time-factored Lakota lifeway. This knowledge enables the People to mirror on earth the activity of the spirits in the star world."
-- From the Introduction to Lakota Star Knowledge, by Ronald Goodman.

The Lakota had a time-factored lifeway. The star knowledge helps us to understand this temporal spacial dimension more fully. We can see now that many Lakota activities were timed to mirror celestial movements. The stars were called, "The holy breath of the Great Spirit,"  the woniya of Wakarj tanka. Thus, when the Lakota observed the movement of the sun through their constellations, they were receiving spiritual instruction. Their observations, when interpreted by Lakota Oral Tradition and their star and earth maps, told them what to do, where to do it and when.

The Lakota correlated several of the constellations to specific sites in the Black Hills. For example, Harney Peak was associated with the Pleiades group which is called "The 7 little girls," wicirjcala sakowiq. Each spring when the sun moved into that constellation, the People understood this as sacred speech directing them to go to Harney Peak. Oral Tradition told them what ceremonies to do there. Traditional Lakota believed that ceremonies done by them on earth were also being performed simultaneously in the spirit world. When what is happening in the stellar world is also being done on earth in the same way at the corresponding place at the same time, a hierophany can occur; sacred power can be drawn down; attunement to the will of Wakan Tanka can be achieved.

The wonderful book is full of stories, charts, maps, and illustrations illuminating the significance of Lakota constellations.

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Sinte Gleska University; Second Edition edition (1992)
  • ASIN: B000J37K6U
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.4 x 1.6 inches
SKU 16764
Our price: $36.50